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Easing Children's Fears of the Dentist

Parents play an important role in "setting the stage" for making the first dental office visit a positive experience. Any anxiety displayed by parents will be "picked up" by the child.

To help the dental visit go more smoothly:

  1. Tell your child about the visits but limit the amount of details given. Answer any questions with simple, to-the-point answers. Let the dentist or pediatric dentist answer more complex or detailed questions. Dentists are trained to describe things to children in a non-threatening way and in easy-to-understand language.
  2. Don't tell your child that something will hurt or be painful.
  3. Don't tell your child about an unpleasant dental experience that you've had.
  4. Stress to your child how important it is to maintain healthy teeth and gums and that the dentist is a friendly doctor whose job it is to help do this.
  5. Don't promise a reward for going to the dentist.

Keep in mind that it is perfectly normal for children to be fearful - some are afraid of being separated from their parents, others are afraid of the unknown, others are afraid of being injured. A dentist who treats children will know how to cope with your child's fears and anxiety and put them at ease.

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